Chances are, if you’re feeling some kind of way about something, you’re not alone. One thing that comes up time and time again, both in conversation with friends and peers, as well as in my own head… is Imposter syndrome. Put simply, it’s the feeling that you don’t deserve whatever success you’re currently enjoying, you’re not worthy of that promotion, you’re not good enough to charge that much for your work, or that at any minute someone’s going to rumble you and call you out for the inexperienced, talentless creative (insert career title here) that you are.
You’re definitely not alone. Studies have shown that 7 out of 10 people suffer with imposter syndrome and the more successful you are, the more likely you are to experience these feelings of being a fraudster. I have recently been reading ‘Lean In’ written by super successful girl boss Sheryl Sandberg, she is chief operating officer at Facebook and undeniably a force to be reckoned with and yet in her own words…
‘‘There are still days when I wake up feeling like a fraud, not sure I should be where I am.’’
Things to remember when you’re suffering with the dreaded imposter feelings;
1 – Your boss will not promote you, people will not pay for your goods or recommend your services to others etc etc, out of the goodness of their heart (nor is the Easter bunny, real). They will do it only when they see in you the ability and potential to fulfil the tasks and demands required. It’s as simple as that. Oh and it’s not that easy to pull the wool over everyone’s eyes, either. (Before you even think it.)
2 – No one else is you, that is your superpower. Accept and take ownership of the fact that you can do things in a way that no one else can, you can approach difficulties and problem solving in your own unique way, it doesn’t matter if you’re not the smartest or most accomplished in the room. You have incredible value.
3 – Grab a pen and paper and write down all of your achievements from the past 5 years, now really look at them. You’re not seriously telling me that they’re all down to chance and luck, are you?! We both know thats not true. You made the most of opportunities presented to you, you took calculated risks that sometimes paid off (hey, we can’t win ‘em all), you put in the work. When you’re feeling like a fraud, remember that not everyone would have had the foresight to make the choices that you have made, not everyone would have had the stomach to take the risks, or the impetus to put the work in. You have earned your current status, fair and square.
4 – To get anywhere in life, we always need to be ‘in beta’, we need to be out there in the real world, testing ourselves and improving the overall product. Nothing is perfect right from the get go and we are all a work in progress, friend. If you feel like you’re not quite up to the job you’ve found yourself in? Get stuck in and get your hands dirty until you do.
So, to recap in bitesize form and repeat the things that often need repeating…
If you ever suffer with feeling like a fraudster in your chosen profession, if you’re just waiting for the day that someone figures you out and pulls the rug out from under you… Well, you’re not the only one! It’s a ‘thing’ and it affects 7 out of 10 of us. Especially the super accomplished.
Next time you’re feeling like a fraud remember these 4 things;
1 – You have made choices and sacrifices that others might not have, to have gotten you where you are today.
2 – No one has hired you, or complimented you, simply for the fun of it. They do it because they think you deserve it, remember that.
3 – We are always in beta, we are allowed to make mistakes, we are allowed to put a foot wrong. The main thing is that we show up, we stay flexible, we keep trying and we keep evolving.
4 – Do not be afraid of failure, it’s a part of life and the key to most successful peoples magic is that that they didn’t let that inevitable occasional failure, stop them.
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